NoViolet Bulawayo, the author of We need new names, was in 2013 for this her first novel the first black African woman shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize.
The book gives a vision of the world through the eyes of a young girl who is living in a shanty in Zimbabwe. His family have lost everything, and as the others there, she had known a better life. Playing around the shacks she notice how the First World look at her and her friends as a target for a good picture to show on their Facebook. “They don’t care we are embarrased by our dirt and tore clothing”. The kids no more have bathrooms and just go squat in the bush. As everybody in the shanty.
Darling, the main character in this novel and the narrator voice, is younger than Ifemelu the protagonist of Americanah, written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who won in 2013 the National Book Critics Circle Award (Fiction). Life is hard for both. Darling went to America as a teeneger, younger than Ifemelu. Both grow up in the novel.
May I should suggest to read them just one after the other, in the order of their ages. Enjoying the simplicity of how Darling show us the cruelty of economic inequality. And how the wrestler Ifemelu becomes black as soon she arrived to America.
To finish with a delight, maybe you can complete your reading with the short story of Zadie Smith, The Embassy of Cambodia, with Fatou, another young woman asking “What ‘s wrong to hope to be happy?” Less evident, -but always real-, more complex, and delicately beautiful. Cambodia is not in Africa, I know.
Then, if you enjoyed Zadie then start with Taiye Selasi, to know what is an Afropolitan. You should step in her writing as in one installation of James Turrell. Walking blind inside the light.